How to Play Baccpo

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Card games evolve in an endlessly fascinating progression, sometimes with one game giving rise directly to another, while others are formed through the combination of two or more very different games. The game known as ďBaccpoĒ is an example of the latter, created in Australia through the marriage of baccarat and blackjack to create something entirely new and unique. It debuted internationally in 2012 and, although not widely accepted yet, has all the hallmarks of an enduring table game.

Rules of the Game

Like blackjack, Baccpo is played directly against the dealer with cards from up to eight decks dealt from a shoe. Like baccarat, the value of each card is its face value from 2 through nine, Aces count as one point and the cards 10 through King are valued at zero. Also like baccarat, a handís total is the sum of the values of the cards it contains up to nine, and above nine the total is the terminal digit of the sum of points, such as 3 + 7 + 8 = 18, so the total is the last digit eight.

The object of the game is to get closer to a total of nine than the dealer. As in blackjack, the game begins with two cards dealt to each player and the dealer receives two cards, too, one face up and one face down as the hole card. In turn, each player must decide whether to stand or to hit and draw a third card in an effort to improve the total. No more than three cards form a hand. After all players have made their decisions, the dealerís hole card is revealed. If the dealer holds two 3ís or the two-card total is five or less, the dealer must draw a third card. Otherwise, the dealer must stand.

The top hand is three 3ís, and it pays 3 to 1 when held by the player. If the player wins with a total of seven, the payout is 1 to 2. For all other winning totals, the player receives even money, while losses forfeit the original wager. Two-card or three-card ties result in a push, with the bet refunded. However, if the tie total is nine with the same number cards in each hand, the player wins. In case of a tie where one hand contains two cards and the other has three, the three-card hand wins.

Playing Strategy

Tables have been developed to assist the player in deciding when to draw. In general, the player should always hit on two-card totals of five or less as well as on two 3ís, just like the dealer. Additionally, when holding any total of six except two 8ís, the player should hit facing the dealerís 7, 8 or 9. If two 8ís are held, the player should only hit against the dealerís 7 or 8. Holding a total of seven, the player should hit against the dealerís 8 showing. For all other two-card combinations, the player should stand.

With eight decks in play and the optimum strategy used for hand play, the House edge for Baccpo should be just over 3%. Losses can be expected on about 46.3% of all deals. Ties will occur about 6.3% of the time, while winning with a total of seven and receiving the reduced payout can be expected on 8.5% of the deals. The rare 3-3-3 come up only about 0.04% of the time, and even money winners should up with a frequency of about 38.8%.

Two side bets are common with Baccpo. The ďTiesĒ wager pays 10 to 1, but because ties occur on only 7.6% of all deals, the House edge is around 16.4%ónot a good wager. The ďBonusĒ bet is only slightly better with a House advantage of 9.8%. It pays for special hands, such as 4 to 1 for a three-card flush, 10 to 1 for three unsuited cards with no value, and other combinations up to 10,000 to 1 for three 3ís of spades.

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